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A military service casualty has an impact on the surviving family that goes far beyond the immediate shock and long-term grief that they feel. While there is certainly nothing of higher priority than the loss of a spouse, often the men and women still at home are left trying to put together the pieces while trying to navigate their way through the benefits that are available to them through their spouse’s ultimate sacrifice. One such case relates to VA home loans, which allow service members to apply for a home mortgage with no money required as a down payment. Many surviving spouses may not realize that these benefits remain available to them, even in the tragic death of their loved one, but they do. It’s important to know how to pursue housing if your spouse died while bravely serving this nation.


Am I qualified?

Determining if you’re qualified for a VA mortgage is a relatively simple matter. You’re eligible if you meet two basic requirements. The first requirement applies to the spouse of a service person who has been deemed missing in action or as a prisoner of war. That benefit can only be used one time, though. The other requirement is that you are a surviving spouse of a service member who died in service or from a service-related injury. Those benefits can be received as long as you have not remarried before you applied.


How often can I use VA housing benefits?

In most cases, each service member is allotted $417,000 in mortgage benefits. That amount does not all have to be used at once, meaning that you can apply for more than one VA mortgage if you still have any amount left in your allotment. First of all, there are some high-priced US counties that allow for a higher allotment. Secondly, the ability to tap into those funds multiple times means that as a surviving spouse, you are not stuck in the first house that you buy forever. Don’t be afraid of spending less than your full allocation of housing funds, as you’ll still have access to the rest later on.


What will I need?

To start your application process, you will have to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility. Contact your local VA office to see what you need to do to obtain your COE.